The civil aviation regulator lifted the suspension of Zest Air’s air operator certificate (AOC) following the airline’s compliance with six deficiencies CAAP had pointed out when it grounded the carrier last Aug. 16.
All international flights to and from Manila to China, South Korea, Malaysia and to domestic destinations of Kalibo (Boracay), Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro and Puerto Princesa (Palawan) will resume as soon as the inspection of all aircraft has been completed, the airline said in an Aug 20 press statement.
“The inspection is expected to be completed in a day barring any weather issues,” it added.
CAAP deputy director general Captain John Andrews reiterated the release of Zest Air aircraft for flight is subject to inspection by the Flight Safety Inspectorate Service’s airworthiness inspectors.
As of Wednesday, three aircraft had been cleared for flight; eight others are still on hold, Andrews said in a press release.
The CAAP issued a memorandum on Aug. 16 suspending Zest Air’sAOCdue to a number of concerns deemed “serious deviations and infractions of the rules and standards prescribed under the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations.”
Zest Air in a statement said, “All findings in CAAP’s letter have already been appropriately addressed and we believe that they do not merit suspension and grounding of our operations.”
The carrier said all its 11 aircraft are “safe and airworthy” and that “none of the issues raised by the regulatory authority against us pertains to the safety and reliability of our 11 aircraft, but were procedural and technical matters that have sufficiently been addressed.”
It added its mechanics have valid licenses and none of the company’s pilots or crew exceeds duty time limits.
The carrier also dispelled CAAP’s main concern about the lack of an accountable manager. Ambassador Alfredo M. Yao, Zest Air’s president and chief executive officer, assumed the post after the accountable manager resigned on July 19.
In a press conference last Friday, Andrews raised the Tagbilaran mishap, noting that the aircraft involved in the incident had a missing part, a fuel cap, since March.
Zest Air said “the incident in Tagbilaran would have been addressed sooner had we not been required to have the maintenance rectification inspected by CAAP personnel. It is unfortunate that Tagbilaran airport has only one runway and ramp, and this is the reason why the incident snowballed to have affected so many passengers.”
Zest Air said the company was “surprised” because CAAP did not give the opportunity to “properly respond to issues raised.”
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